Photo courtesy of J Hardy Carroll
There’s a crack in the curtains just wide enough to watch you standing in the shadow of time at the bus stop; rucksack on shoulder, school tie skewwhiff. You’re cradling your heart in both hands, waiting for it to start beating.
Usually he doesn’t notice you.
But today there’s the gaze that lingers too long, the smile that’s too bright.
Take your heart and run away before it gets broken.
Instead you take his hand.
Now I’ll have to tell you the story of his dad and I.
The real story of you.
Be the one who destroys you.
‘Forbidden ‘was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly flash fiction challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Please do check out the other entries over on host Rochelle’s blog and join in!
Image courtesy of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Beautiful women with Hollywood smiles thrust autograph books towards him but it’s me he wants. Mum said I was too fat. Too ugly. That nobody would ever love me but she was wrong.
He does. Tenderly he urged me to board without him, to ‘protect’ me from the throngs of fans.
‘Anything to declare?’ I am asked as I shift his guitar case from one hand to another.
Dogs scratching at the case.
‘You’d better come with me, Miss.”
‘It’s not mine.’ I protest but as he walks past me without a second glance I realise, neither is he.
It’s been a busy few weeks. My fourth psychological thriller, The Date, was published a few days ago and has already hit the UK top 40 and the US top 20. Thanks to all who supported. Publication day was spent in London where I was fundraising for Parkinson’s Disease, a charity close to my heart.
The Date is centred around Prosopagnosia/Face Blindness & for my YouTube channel I interviewed Hannah Read who has the most severe reported case in the UK to ask her what it’s really like when everyone looks like a stranger. You can watch that here and find The Date on Amazon here.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word photo challenge inspired by a photo prompt. Hop on over to host Rochelle’s blog to read the other entries or join in!
Image courtesy of Yarnspinner
The claw lowered, closed its metal fingers. Slow jerky movements until the bear tumbled out of the machine, into my arms.
‘Hey gorgeous.’ He winked. I’d been called fat, ugly, stupid. Never gorgeous!
‘Can I buy you some chips?’
‘I should tell my parents.’ My eyes darted around the arcade.
‘You’re a big girl now.’
It was my lucky day.
Outside in the alley, drizzle hit my face moments before his fist. The bear wrenched from my arms. His stomach knifed open. A plastic bag removed. I curled into a ball on the hard stone floor.
I didn’t feel so lucky anymore.
This week I’m reading through the final typeset files for The Date – I can’t believe it will be published in a few weeks! If you missed the gorgeous cover you can check it out here.
‘The Claw’ was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 word story challenge inspired by a photo prompt and led by the marvellous Rochelle.
Image courtesy of Ted Strutz
I ignore the other kids. The wind bites my nose. I button my coat.
The familiar puff of steam. I clutch my camera with numb fingers.
A stone hits me in the back of the neck but I manage to snap a picture of the cab.
The photo won’t take long to develop and when it does I’ll show mum. It might be my dad! He’s been away on top secret missions since I was born. A spy masquerading as a train driver. Ferrying secrets.
She’ll say no. Call me a gullible idiot. She always does. But part of me still hopes. Perhaps it’s him. Perhaps he’ll love me.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word story challenge, inspired by a photo prompt. Hop over to host Rochelle’s blog to read the other entires or join in!
I am the queen of everything. The queen of nothing. My kingdom is fashioned from hopelessness and regret. I sit in my palace of faded dreams while my subjects smile and nod and lie and cheat.
‘You’ll be fine,’ they say. ‘You are fine.’ But I’m not.
My present is haunted by echoes of the past, whispers from the future. I am cracking and falling apart. My reflection laughs and laughs while I stand and cry. I stretch out my fingers to touch my face but I am so far away from myself I cannot reach.
‘You need a King,’ they say and suddenly, there he is. My shoulders sigh with happiness.
He loves me. He loves me not.
But my King is a shape shifter. He is light and shade; triumph and grief.
He cradles my hopes in his hand but one by one he lets them fall where they lie shattered in the lonely beam of sunlight that pierces the darkness.
I take off my crown, remove my cloak. Step out of my skin.
It has been far too long since I last participated in Streams of Consciousness Saturday and I’d forgotten how good it feels to sit and write a response to the fabulous Linda G Hill’s prompt and post without over thinking or editing. Today’s prompt was to use ‘so far’ in piece or writing that can be fact or fiction. If you fancy having a go, you can join in here.
Image courtesy of J S Brand
There’s a dark, empty space inside me that six months volunteering in a Nepalese orphanage does not fill. I’d hoped the wide, bright, smiles of the too thin children, the fierce hugs and the progress we have made would make me feel whole again. It doesn’t.
The summer is spent in the USA teaching sports to disadvantaged children. There’s no ‘I’ in team we chant, and yet I’ve never felt lonelier.
In Cambodia, I dedicate myself to Wildlife Conservation. The elephants stride, trunk to tail.
‘Beautiful, aren’t they?’
I turn towards the voice.
Clear amber eyes lock onto mine. My pulse flutters. This time, I might just stay.
Hurrah – I’ve finished book 4 and while I’m waiting for the edits from my publisher I can’t resist FF. For 48 hours only my latest psychological thriller, The Surrogate, is part of a flash sale across all digital platforms for £0.99/$1.38 – you can grab it on your local Amazon here.
Pop over to Rochelle’s blog and join in with Friday Fictioneers. Post a 100 word story inspired by a photo prompt.
Image courtesy of Roger Bultot
Nothing. I’ve nothing except dust and junk. Mama’s attic virtually bare now. Opening the last box, I’m hit by colour and memories as vibrant as the shimmering material I find myself clutching to my chest, which aches with longing.
‘Do you have to go?’ I’d asked.
‘It’s how we’ll make our fortune.’ Mama kissed my nose as she set off for another long shift, sewing clothes for the ungrateful jewellery maker’s wife.
I lift the dress to the light. It’s heavy. Surely too heavy? The sparkles too bright to be fake?
I remember the headline ‘Missing diamond mystery.’
Perhaps I have something after all.
Happy New Year! Tomorrow, Thursday 4th January, at 19.30 GMT I’m live on the Facebook Group Crime Book Club, answering questions about writing, publishing and books as well as discussing my latest novel, The Surrogate. Whether you’re a reader or writer do pop over and join me if you can. You’ll need to join the group first here.
Diamonds & Dust was written for Friday Fictioneers. A weekly 100 words story challenge inspired by a photo prompt and hosted by Rochelle. You can read the other entries here.